The New York Rangers didn't have the strongest start to tonight's game against the Ottawa Senators, but they found a way to claw their way back, and took a 3-2 victory in overtime. After going a short two game losing streak, the Rangers have rebounded very nicely by rattling off three straight wins heading into the All-Star break. As it stands right now, the Rangers are in sole possession of third place in the Metropolitan Division, and remain one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place.
The first period of this game didn't contain a whole lot of action aside from the shots on goal, as both teams had zero flow to their game coming out of the gate. Following the action-less first period, the Rangers started to crank up the pressure in the second period, and finally broke through at the 9:29 mark courtesy of Kevin Hayes. Craig Anderson made the initial save on Dan Girardi's point shot, but the rebound kicked right out to Kevin Hayes, and he slammed it home on the empty net.
That one goal lead would be fairly short lived though as just under four minutes later, Erik Karlsson pulled the Senators even with a goal from the right face-off circle. The Senators started the entire play by forcing a turnover on Jesper Fast at the blue line, which kept the Rangers pinned in their zone for a good while. After chances from from Erik Condra and Kyle Turris, the puck worked its way over to Karlsson who ripped it over the glove hand of Lundqvist. The Senators responded again 63 seconds later, as Milan Michalek chipped in a loose puck at the top of the crease for their first lead of the night.
Two costly mistakes by the Rangers ended up in the back of their net, which left them searching for the equalizer heading into the third period. Whatever was said during the second intermission clearly worked, as the Rangers came out flying to start the third period. Just 2:55 into the final frame, Chris Kreider knotted the game up on a beautiful chip pass from Marc Staal, and ripped it home on the partial breakaway.
The move is quickly becoming a patented move by Kreider, as he is essentially undeniable when he builds up speed through the neutral zone. Following the early goal, the Rangers kept pressing and came close to scoring the go-ahead goal on numerous occasions, but Craig Anderson was up to the task. Despite the bad start to this game, the Rangers slowly found their legs, and were able to snag at least a point out of this game.
After an upbeat third period, the Rangers quickly attacked the Senators from the start of overtime, and were rewarded just 2:55 into extra time. Dominic Moore created the entire goal with a huge play to keep the puck in at the blue line, and fed it to the middle of the ice. Ryan McDonagh wound up whiffing on the centering feed, but found a way to get it over to Derek Stepan. Stepan was able to wait out the defender, and made a slick behind the back pass over to Carl Hagelin, who redirected behind Anderson for the game winner.
The Rangers said right from the start of this game that they wanted to go into the break with two points, and they got the job done. With All-Star weekend coming up, the Rangers will have a week off before returning to action on Long Island against the New York Islanders.